In the past few years I have noticed a lot of large companies in Australia have been changing their branding. This has had me thinking about why a business would need to change their brand and when is the right time to do it?

There are several reasons why a business may change their brand. It may be because the brand has become outdated and needs a refresh to actively compete in the current market. Other times the company may be headed in a new direction and a brand change is a good way to visually show this to consumers. It could also be because the current brand does not accurately communicate who the business is or what they do.

A brand change can be as simple as a colour update and subtle changes to an icon and/or font, for example the changes Qantas made to their brand in 2007. It can also be quite obvious, for example the new Woolworths brand which is currently being implemented within their stores.

When considering a change to a brand there are a lot of factors to take into consideration.

If the brand is well established in the minds of the consumer it can be dangerous to make the change too dramatic. You don’t want to cause the consumer too much confusion in the changeover. A dramatic change may be appropriate if the business is heading in a whole new direction and the brand is going to be symbolic of the changes. For example when Jack in the box moved into our larger premises and launched our new website in 2007 the brand change was symbolic of the changes within the business.

If the change is purely to update the brand it can be beneficial to make subtle changes. The Qantas brand is the perfect example. The basis of the icon and logotype were kept but were changed enough to make the brand more distinctive. The red colour was also updated. The result is a modern take on an established design that will continue to work into the future.

When National Australia Bank updated their look they kept the red from their colour palette and the star icon but make considerable changes to typography and styling. The name in the brand shortened to NAB and the typography also changed. The introduction of the black background was another significant change. Although they made quite a change from their old branding, by keeping a few elements, they did not lose brand awareness.

Recent or expected growth in a business can be another great reason to consider re-branding. If your brand does not portray where you are headed then it is probably time for a change. A lot of businesses start out small and with a very limited budget. During the initial stages of setting up a business it can be difficult justifying spending money on a professional brand when you have a friend who is happy to throw something together on their home PC or when the local print shop is offering ridiculously cheap ‘clip art’ style logos. The reality is when a business starts to grow into new markets a poor brand will hold even the best ones back. In a world where Perception = Reality it is essential to have a brand that makes you look the part. In this instance a complete change can often be justified because the brand has not been established in the mind of the new markets.

It is also important when implementing a new brand to make the change everywhere the brand appears. If the change is subtle the changes can generally be rolled out over a longer, but planned period. If the change is dramatic or is a complete rebrand there is a greater need to make the changes quickly for maximum impact. There is no point updating your brand in Press and TV Advertising with your new brand if store signage hasn’t already been done. It will only confuse the customer and dilute the impact of the brand.

If you think your brand needs some attention or if you are starting out and need a new brand contact us here at Jack in the box. We specialise in branding and have helped many businesses with brand updates through to complete rebranding. We can also offer advice on how best to implement your new brand to maximise its benefits.